Friday, August 03, 2007

Class Struggles in the Pit: musique concrete & marxism

(juvenile shit, but funny shit: via TMCM)

"Music was set to enter a new golden age; a time when there would be no more harmony, when the tonal system, decadent and feeble, would slink off to a dark hiding place where it could keep company with Capitalism, Religion, Slavery, Censorship and other discredited plagues of humanity. Many freak flags were brandished in the faces of the rigid of the Earth. Music would be free from all the foolish prejudices of the premature fossils demanding tunes to hum, rhythms to tap toes to. Music would be made from anything. Anything would be music.

As it turned out, those plagues have refused to go anywhere and are insisting on their immortality and splendour. Most forms of music have been acting pretty much the same. Just as many who seemed to be our most promising Communists have turned into George Bush catamites, many composers who emitted wonderful rants on the death of tonality, the end of music and other attractive sounding options, have now turned into “Minimalists”, not to mention what the “audience” has been up to.

So, what’s the point? When the liberals of 1848 cozied up to the Kaiser, did Marx & Engels decide that if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em? They did not. Instead they began theorizing in anticipation of a resurgence. I’m not going to get into the question of a moral duty to listen to post WW2 maniacs. It is enough that listening to them makes life sweet. Fortunately, lots of them are hanging in there and some of their music is loud as hell, and if it doesn’t exactly “rock”, it lurches, collides, howls, explodes, circles ominously, and performs a number of other useful and entertaining functions..."

- Conrad Conrad, “Class Struggles in the Pit”, Forced Exposure#17 (1991)

... a defining moment for the "Scientific American of the Underground", as it achieves a simultaneous accomodation with both left-wing politics and squeaky-door tape music. For myself, an epiphany. No idea who Conrad Conrad is or was, but he had a tremendous idiomatic style.

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